BLOGGING THE VIEW: 5 tips to deal with exam stress – Zululand Observer

Interrupted learning, Covid-19 waves, widescale looting… South African children and students have had to deal with a lot this past year.

And there’s no point compounding this anxiety with even more stress as exams approach.

By following just a few simple steps, you – either as a parent or student – can minimise stress associated with examinations and put health first.

Exam tip 1: A balanced diet

Sugar-laden energy bars and caffeinated drinks are really not the way to go when it comes to studying. They’re not brain food and will just leave you feeling more sluggish later on.

Rather opt for slow-release carbs and have some healthy snacks such as fruit and nuts while you’re working.

Another important dietary aspect is hydration – research actually indicates that students who drink more water while studying perform better in the exams.

Exam tip 2: Sleep well

Fight the urge to ‘overstudy’ into the night, because those hours are simply going to be lost.

You’re losing out on sleep and also losing out on study time as your brain isn’t functioning at its optimum. In fact, sleep helps the brain solidify memories for better information retention.

All-nighters simply result in you being too tired the next day without gaining anything. Aim to get a solid eight to nine hours every night.

Exam tip 3: Exercise

Just like sleep, missing out on exercise to study will be detrimental to your overall health – and possibly your results.

Physical activity not only improves your health and fitness levels, but will actually release endorphins that assist in reducing stress, as well as giving you more energy in the long run.

This can be something as simple as a 20-minute walk around the block or stretching exercises.

Exam tip 4: Distraction techniques

When studying and the feelings of stress and anxiety are starting to emerge, it’s important to have some sort of release before these feelings overwhelm you.

This is different for different people. For some, exercise – as mentioned in tip 3 – is the ultimate release.

For others, it’s simple breathing exercises, listening to music or repeating a positive mantra. Otherwise, tactile objects like stress balls, fidget toys, play dough, elastic bands or chewing ice will do the trick.

Exam tip 5: Schedule fun

Studying will undoubtedly be the primary objective in the run-up to exams, but your life can’t be completely halted or you’ll have a meltdown.

When drawing up your timetable, make sure to set aside (a reasonable amount) of time for fun activities.

This could be watching a show, visiting friends or just popping out to the store.

Ideally this should be something that takes you away from the work space, takes your mind off studying, and allows you the opportunity to unwind.

Bonus tip: Show you care

As a parent or caregiver, show your support with a little gift, special message or an exam ‘care package’.

Whether your child is writing his or her first exams, matric finals or tertiary-level exams, this is a stressful time and knowing you have support goes a long way!


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